Author Topic: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"  (Read 433 times)

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Offline minasoliman

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St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:12:40 PM »
So I was reading St. Basil's homily on fasting, and I got intrigued on a small part of the beginning of his homily.  In context it says, "For, just as the tapeworms that breed in the intestines of children are obliterated by certain very pungent drugs, so also fasting--a remedy truly worthy of its appellation--when introduced into the soul, kills off the sin that lurks deep within it."

I was looking up the Greek word for fasting (nesteia), and saw that it was used for words like "fasting" and "hunger".  I want to know if anyone has any idea what the appellation of "nesteia" was that St. Basil had in mind that made it "worthy".
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2014, 03:52:20 PM »
Bump
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 04:18:09 AM »
What is the word used for "kill"?
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 05:21:19 PM »
What is the word used for "kill"?

So I thought that was an interesting suggestion.  So I looked up the word, and it was "phoneio" or something like that.  But then I found a footnote in a website that republished the homily and it talked about that part.  "Nesteia" literally means not to eat.  So the idea of fasting is to starve sin to death (literally killing sin) from the foods it feeds on to propagate itself, almost like a parasite in your body.

So "fasting" or "starving" kills, and it particularly kills sin.

Thank you for the suggestion. That answers it for me :)
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 08:16:02 PM »
You're welcome. I thought the "kill" verb might have been a verb related to death-by-starvation, or "withering away", which would have fit.
Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

Πάντα μὲν καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς
Τοῖς δὲ μεμιασμένοις καὶ ἀπίστοις οὐδὲν καθαρόν

Offline minasoliman

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Re: St. Basil: "Fasting, a remedy truly worthy of its appellation"
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 02:55:20 PM »
So it turns out, the appellation St. Basil seemed to have been talking about was "remedy" or "medicine", not the word "fasting".   A more accurate translation would probably be "a remedy, which is a worthy appellation" of fasting.

This translation seems to make it seem so.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.